Right now we have an abundance of fresh, local strawberries here in Gettysburg, so for the past several weeks I have been thoroughly enjoying multiple batches of strawberry shortcake. Today I very generously decided to share some of the strawberries leftover from my shortcake-a-palooza with my dog Pacey, and the result was this recipe for berry bar cookies. If you don’t have fresh strawberries, you can substitute an equal amount of blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries, or use a combination of berries.
The preparation is simple, and the treats can easily be made from start to finish in less than 30 minutes. I cut the baked treats into 1-inch by 1-inch squares to suit my little dog, but you can cut the treats into pieces of any size and/or shape using a paring knife or a small cookie cutter. To keep the finished treats from crumbling too much, it’s best to cut them into pieces immediately after removing them from the oven. Just be sure to use an oven mitt or pot-holder and be extremely careful during this step, because the pan and the treats will be very hot.
Summer Berry Bars
Makes about 30 (1-inch by 1-inch) bars
1 1/2 cups whole ripe strawberries, stems and leaves removed
1/4 cup water
2 cups oat flour
1 cup white rice flour
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Place the strawberries and water in a bowl. Use a potato masher or the back of a fork to mash the berries into very small pieces (a.k.a. mush).
3. Stir the egg into the mashed berries.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the oat flour and rice flour.
5. Slowly stir the flours into the wet ingredients, and continue stirring until well-combined. (The finished dough will be slightly wet but should hold together well and press easily into the pan.)
6. Press the dough into an 8-inch by 8-inch pan lined with parchment paper, making sure that the sheet of dough is of an even thickness.
7. Bake until firm to the touch and baked through, 18 to 20 minutes.
8. Remove the pan from the oven, and use a sharp paring knife to cut the bars into pieces.
9. Allow the bars to cool completely before removing them from the pan and serving.
These treats should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
As the dog days of summer start heating up, it’s important to remember that your pooch is probably feeling just as hot and uncomfortable as you are! As always, you want to be sure to keep your dog’s bowl filled with clean, cool water, but from time to time it’s also nice to pamper him/her with a frosty treat. This quick and easy recipe for frozen peanut-flavored treats is a great way to help cool your hot dog down at the beach, by the pool, or after a good romp in the backyard.
Most dogs will really appreciate the novelty of a frozen treat, but as the treat starts to melt it can get pretty messy. A lot of dogs will want to play with the slippery treat like a toy—flinging, pushing, and chasing it all over the place before actually eating it. Therefore, it is best to serve these treats outdoors (or on an indoor surface that you don’t mind having to clean up).
Frozen Peanut Butter Treats
Makes about 10 small treats
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1/4 cup natural, unsweetened applesauce
Carob chips, as desired
1. Use a rubber spatula to stir the peanut butter together with the applesauce until the ingredients are well combined into a smooth, homogenous mixture.
2. Pour the mixture into the cavities of an ice cube tray or mini muffin tin.
3. Gently press 2 or 3 carob chips into the top of each treat.
4. Place in the freezer until firm, at least 2 hours.
Just in the last two weeks or so, fresh, ripe, local peaches have started popping up in our markets here in southern Pennsylvania. Like many fruits, peaches have a delicious natural sweetness that makes them perfect for baking for people and dogs alike.
You will find that peaches are sometimes listed as a no-no fruit for dogs, but that is all dependent on how they are prepared. It is true that dogs should NEVER, EVER be given a peach, or even a part of a peach, with the skin and/or pit still on it; however, the flesh of the peach is fine if it has been thoroughly cleaned of the skin and pit. Just be sure to dispose of the waste in a secure trash container that your dog is unable to get into, because peach pits pose a major choking hazard.
That said, the peach flesh makes a natural, sweet summer treat for dogs, and the fresh peach puree in this recipe definitely had our four taste-testers begging for more.
Makes about 18 large treats (2 1/2 in diameter)
1 medium peach
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup water
2 1/4 cups oat flour
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Take care to completely remove every bit of skin and pit from the peach. Discard the skin and pit in a secure place. Cut the peach flesh into chunks.
3. Place the peach, honey, and water in a blender, and process into a puree. Transfer the peach puree to a bowl.
4. Add the flour in two additions, stirring well after each addition to combine. Knead the mixture by hand to form a smooth dough.
5. On a clean countertop, roll the dough out into a sheet about 1/4-inch thick. Use your desired cutter to cut the dough into biscuits. (Since it contains no gluten, this dough is a bit more delicate when it’s rolled out. Take care when transferring the biscuits from the cutter to the baking sheet so that they don’t break.)
6. Arrange the biscuits on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and bake for 6 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip each of the biscuits over, and return to the oven. Continue baking for an additional 6 minutes. Allow the biscuits to cool completely before serving.
These treats may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature but are best stored in the refrigerator.